The First Invasion of Spain 710AD

painting of an african moor standing in a palace

In 710 AD, Moorish commander Tariq ibn Ziyad launched a significant military campaign consisting of 500 African converts to Islam, later known as the invasion of Iberia. This invasion marked the beginning of Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula, which would have profound and lasting effects on the region’s history.

Tariq ibn Ziyad, a Berber military commander, was tasked with leading the expedition across the Strait of Gibraltar. In 711 AD, Tariq landed at Gibraltar with a force consisting of Berbers and Arab troops.

The local Visigothic rulers of the Iberian Peninsula were facing internal strife and division, providing an opportunity for the Umayyad forces. Tariq’s forces swiftly moved inland, engaging Visigothic armies in a series of battles. The most notable confrontation occurred at the Battle of Guadalete in 711 AD, where Tariq achieved a decisive victory.

Tarik’s men captured a port city which they renamed “Tariffa” where they charged a special tax on goods; this special tax is where we get the word “Tariff”.

Defeat of the Goths

The defeat of the Visigothic forces and the death of their king, Roderic, opened the way for further Muslim advances into the Iberian Peninsula. Tariq ibn Ziyad continued to capture key cities such as Toledo and Cordoba, establishing Muslim rule over significant parts of the region.

The Islamic conquest of Iberia had a lasting impact on the cultural, social, and political landscape of the region. Muslim rule, known as Al-Andalus, endured for centuries and witnessed a flourishing of arts, sciences, and architecture. The diverse population of Muslims, Christians, and Jews coexisted, contributing to a rich cultural synthesis known as convivencia.


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